LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
After winning its first two games against Middlesboro and Knox Central, North Laurel stepped up in competition Tuesday against defending 13th Region champion Corbin. Although the Lady Jaguars fell in three sets (25-23, 25-20, 25-13), there were reasons for coach Ali Ray to be optimistic.
“I was proud of the way we didn’t lay down. We fell behind every single set,” Ray said. “We competed with them and they are a good team.”
The biggest concern when playing Corbin is their front line, led by senior Vanessa Wiseman.
“They had other good hitters too that I didn’t know they had. They had some good front line players and we couldn’t defend them. They hit the holes,” Ray said.
Ray tried to go with a bigger lineup, although her bigger lineup does not quite match Corbin’s size. The Lady Jaguars also tried to tip the ball to open space with some success. Despite the Corbin advantage, the first two sets could have gone either way.
The Lady Jaguars trailed 19-9 in the first set when Ashley Wyatt led a rally by serving seven straight points. Although only one of the points was an ace, three other points came when the Lady Redhounds struggled to control the return.
The Lady Jaguars were within 20-19 on consecutive kills by Miranda Browning. They would tie the score at 21-21 on a Kelsey Rice ace. It looked like the set was going North Laurel’s way when Corbin mishit a T.J. Stuber serve for a 23-22 Lady Jaguars’ lead. The Lady Redhounds scored the last three points with Wiseman winning the final two at the net.
There would be another strong comeback in the second set. The Lady Redhounds led by as much as seven points and still appeared to be in command at 22-16. A net serve, followed by kills from Sierra Hedrick and Wyatt had the Lady Jaguars within 22-19 and forced a Corbin timeout. Again it was Wiseman ending the rally with a kill and Corbin controlling the serve from there.
“The second set we lost by five and I think we had four missed serves. You can’t do that against a good team. Every point counts,” Ray said.
There would be no rally in the final set. Corbin scored the first five points and led 12-5 before the Lady Jaguars showed some life with three straight points. Two of the points came on Corbin mistakes. It was the only time in the set North Laurel scored consecutive points.
The Lady Jaguars were scheduled to play Wayne County Thursday night. This weekend they will play in the McCreary County Invitational Tournament with an opening game against the same Wayne County team. Wayne County has split its first four games this season with wins over Somerset and Cumberland County. They lost in very competitive matches with Southwestern and Lincoln County.